A former intelligence officer, known for his opposition to Romania’s anti-corruption fight, has fled Romania a day before he was sentenced prison for corruption, media reported.
Daniel Dragomir, who was formerly a lieutenant colonel in the Romanian Intelligence Service, was sentenced to 3 years and 10 months in prison by the Bucharest Court of Appeal on Thursday for influence peddling and money laundering involving a kickback he took for illegally disclosing information to a businessman.
However, Dragomir did not hand himself over to authorities and when police arrived at home to arrest him and escort him to prison, they couldn’t find him. They tried unsuccessfully to locate him at other addresses.
Police put out a national search warrant for Dragomir.
G4Media reported he crossed the border into Hungary on Wednesday by car. Hungary is currently only allowing travelers from Romania to transit the country and not stay there during the coronavirus pandemic.
Anti-corruption prosecutors charged the former intelligence officer of tipping off Rami Ghaziri, a Lebanese businessman who owns a poultry company, kin 2011 that Romanian intelligence agents had placed him under surveillance for tax evasion.
The Anti-Corruption Prosecutors’ Directorate said Dragomir received a bribe of almost half a million euros from Ghaziri in exchange for the information.
Dragomir’s wife, Marinela Zoica Dragomir, was also handed a two year and eight month suspended sentence in the same case. It was unclear whether she fled Romania with Dragomir.
Using political connections, Dragomir also was active in efforts to place prosecutors who opposed the anti-corruption fight in key positions, according to the case.
The investigation into the former intelligence officer, who, according to Romania Curata resigned from the intelligence agency in 2013 to pursue business interests, brought his political views into public view.
He advocated for Romania leaving the European Union and founded the Roexit party. He was vocal in his criticism of the anti-corruption agency and the rule of law.
He is also charged by anti-terrorist and organized crime prosecutors in a separate case of being part of the Israeli Black Cube case, a criminal attempt by ex-Israeli intelligence officers which sought to discredit and intimidate Laura Codruta Kovesi, then chief anti-corruption prosecutor.